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'X-Files' has almost become a household name all over the world, with 'X-Philes' tuning in to the hit TV series that follows FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they explore the world of the unexplained and paranormal.
This computerised episode begins with Mulder (the Guy) picking the lock of a deserted and downtrodden warehouse in a dockside area of Seattle. Quietly gaining entrance they begin a search of the area finding some very strange pellets and a pile of storage crates that look like they were only recently dumped.
Suddenly the main doors burst open and three figures rush into the building showering our heroes in gunfire. Scully takes a hit in the shoulder and as her partner takes a look at the injury the shooting is replaced by screams of pain as a powerful white light engulfs everyone... then silence.
Cue the opening sequence, a faithful rendition of the TV credits and now famous theme tune, before we are introduced to Agent Willmore, the character you will play throughout the game and the man given the responsibility to find out where Mulder and Scully have gone.
The 'X-Files' is a movie adventure featuring most of the cast from the TV series. The game basically consists of hundreds of pre-recorded short video sequences that are replayed in an order dependant on your decisions and actions throughout the game.
Sound and Vision:
While each of the movie sequences only uses up just over one third of the screen height, they are a little more detailed and crisp than seen on previous attempts at games of this type. Once the action comes to an end, the screen freezes and goes into a short loop. This mini-animation may be as simple as the water in the background rippling, one of the characters tapping a pencil on their desk, or even turning the page in a book while they wait around for you to make a move. Often they are very subtle and barely noticeable, but do indeed trick your brain into thinking that time is not standing still.
The graphics have obviously been heavily compressed to fit into the very tight memory constrictions of the PlayStation, but in the main they are very good. Unfortunately they look untidy as soon as you use either the torch or night vision equipment to view them and the binoculars magnify all of the glitches and areas of graphic compression, making the scene look ugly and untidy.
The rest of the graphics consist of various icons that while functional, could hardly be said to be impressive. The only two items of note were the Apple palmtop and Nokia mobile phone, both of which probably netted 'Fox' a few extra bucks in sponsorship.
Thankfully, the third-rate cheap soap opera type acting associated with this and many other types of adventure games has little place in this game. Sure, your character may possess the looks and mannerisms of 'Chandler' from the TV series 'Friends', but some may find this quite appealing.
The sounds are great, being atmospheric and professionally recorded to reflect the surroundings. Occasionally there is a few misplaced background noises that are used to create a bit of tension, but do little more than annoy.
Before launching yourself into the game, its worth spending a little time in the 'options' area to familiarise yourself with the controls and various functions that will be needed during the game.
Firstly you can set the difficulty of the various action scenes to one of three levels, choose to allow the video sequences to be skipped or reviewed and switch the vibration function on the 'Dual Shock' pad on and off. Most importantly is the option to have artificial 'intuition' included within the game.
This 'intuition' monitors your progress and seems to detect when your level of frustration has peaked and consequently your hand is reaching for the 'OFF' button on your PlayStation. It initially feeds you a small titbit of information that instantly reduces your blood pressure a little, before actually completing some of the tasks for you in extreme situations. If you consider yourself an expert adventurer then by all means switch this function off, but be warned, without it this game will take you to new heights of frustration.
The control system for navigating around the X-Files world is initially very simple, but becomes more complex and a little confusing as the game progresses and you are required to gather and interpret evidence.
Most of the game is played as if looking through your eyes, rather than the more traditional above and behind view used in games such as Resident Evil. So to look in another direction you must turn your head, which is easily accomplished by moving the on-screen pointer to the side of the screen you wish to view. You can often look up and down and move into and out of areas by moving the pointer to the appropriate place on the screen.
To search a room, simply move the pointer across the scene to the area you wish to investigate and if the standard crosshair changes to an 'eye', you can take a closer look. Moving it over a character will often change it to a 'mouth', allowing you to talk to the person or review what you have already said to them.
As well as finding clues, you must also talk to many of the other people you meet within the game. Whenever you first communicate with anyone you will be given a choice of several different things to say to them, but we found that its often best to ask them all of the possible questions, or risk getting stuck in an area until you do. This is one of the weaker elements of the game, as regardless of what order, or which location you ask these questions, you seem to get the same result. This very linear style adds nothing to the overall gameplay and just about kills its replay value.
Travelling between locations is simple enough. Just exit the building via the door and click on the car door handle. From here you go to a city map, where you can visit an ever-growing number of locations. It would have been great if a noise was heard, or message displayed, every time a new location was made accessible. At the moment there is no way to know of this new area without constantly checking the map, which can be a real pain.
When you get stuck, head back to the HQ and get your boss (Shanks) to review the current case notes. After reading through them he will give you a little advice that may prove useful.
Where this game differs from typical point-n-click adventures is that the scope for searching for items is very accurate and finite.
At the start of the game you enter a meeting room than has a small badly lit notice board in its corner. Clicking on the board reveals a message, which is read before continuing your search for information elsewhere in the room. Unfortunately, you just missed the fact that every single tiny scrap of paper on this distant message board could have been INDIVIDUALLY read and consequently missed some vital pieces of information.
Now that you know this fact, avoiding one of the most FRUSTRATING aspects of the game and thus improving the chances of holding on to your sanity are essential. Help is at hand with the 'JUMP TO HOT-SPOT' button on your joypad. By using this in conjunction with the left and right BUTTONS on your controller you can cycle through each and every point on the current screen that can and should be looked at... Use this, or use Vallium... its your choice.
This is a Four disk game for 1 Player. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the dual shock (analog) joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (1 block per save).
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